Bell & Ross has been making skull-themed watches for long enough for these types of products to form their own little category within the brand. From pirates to tattoos, the classic skull motif we’ve seen from the Paris-based brand is now joined by a modern replica Rolex watch that Bell & Ross calls the BR 01 Cyber Skull.
What’s interesting about the BR 01 Cyber Skull is its new take on the BR 01 case and dial. The Cyber Skull uses the existing movement but otherwise puts a fresh spin on the skull concept. Admittedly a niche product, this debut version of the BR01-CSK-CE/SRB is arguably a limited edition of 500 pieces. The movement is borrowed from the Bell & Ross BR 01 Laughing Skull watch collection, which debuted an exclusive movement with whimsical animations for Bell & Ross. When wound manually (because this is not an automatic movement), the skull’s chin moves up and down as if it were talking (or laughing). So if you really want to practice some ventriloquism and don’t have any puppets around, your Bell & Ross Laughing Skeleton or fake rolex watch is more than enough to keep you entertained.
The movement is known as Bell & Ross’s BR-CAL.208 movement (in the Laughing Skull, the different shape is known as BR-CAL.206). Hand-wound features only the central hour and minute hands for the time. There is no seconds hand, but the oscillator is visible, and it is located at the rare position of 12 o’clock, where the “brain” of the skull should be. When you “open” the mouth of the skull, you can see part of the skeletonized mainspring barrel, which can be used as a rough indicator of the power reserve by looking at how tight the winding is.
The revised BR 01 case is still predominantly square, but has a bolder geometry and dramatically sloped, faceted edges. Here the case is black ceramic, 46.5 mm wide, and water-resistant to 50 m. Bell & Ross claims that the shape of the case was inspired by the stealthy F-117 fighter jet, but is intended for the fashionable souvenir-loving individual. The case has sapphire crystals on the top and bottom, which are important in providing the “floating web of skulls and crossbones effect” that the dial is intended for. I still appreciate its relative readability and appreciate even more the presence of the hour markers on the dial.
Given how new this new BR 01 series case is, I think it’s a bit odd that Bell & Ross didn’t give it a more distinctive name. This case concept has more life than just being a frame for a digital pirate skull. I think it will be interesting to watch where Bell & Ross goes with this look and how it is received by consumers.